No one really knows much about my history. I was probably born in the 1970’s, but no one knows whether I was born in the wild or in captivity. My whereabouts before 1983 are unknown. In October 1983, I arrived at the Laboratory for Experimental Medicine and Surgery in Primates (LEMSIP), a now defunct lab in New York State. For the next 13 years, I lived alone in a steel cage that gave me only 25 square feet of space, barely enough room to turn around. During that time, I was forced to endure over 400 painful liver biopsies. At one point, a hematoma was discovered on my liver and I needed three blood transfusions. Eventually, in the late 1990’s, LEMSIP closed and I was sent to the Coulston Foundation, a lab in Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1996. There, I lived in a concrete and steel cage, and was used in at least one biomedical research study.
In 2002, the Coulston Foundation went bankrupt, and I was one of the 266 chimpanzees rescued by Save the Chimps (STC). STC found me living alone in Building 300, a cold, dark barracks known as “The Dungeon” because of its putrid, dismal conditions. As soon as STC arrived, my life improved dramatically. For the first time in my life, I was given fresh fruits and vegetables, blankets, toys, and, most importantly, I was not alone.
I am in my 40’s now, and I live with the Special Needs group at STC. Although I usually prefer the company of humans over other chimps, I get along okay with my buddy Timmy, whom I first met when I was at the lab. We enjoy grooming each other, and can often be found exploring our island home together. I am known as intelligent and artistic, but I can be temperamental. Sometimes I go for weeks refusing to paint, but when I find my muse, I throw myself into my work and create colorful, expressive paintings that often spill off the canvas and onto the walls and floors of my home. These days, I am no longer anonymous or forgotten, but coddled, respected and beloved.
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